Our East Coast, senior writer, Jeff Benjamin, reached out to Deena Kastor, 2004 Athens Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon, to offer her observations on Molly Seidel, 2021 Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon.
We thank Deena Kastor for her comments and congratulate Molly Seidel on becoming only the third American woman to take an Olympic medal in the marathon.
From One Olympic Marathon Medalist To Another!
2004 Bronze Medalist Deena Kastor Reflects on 2021 Bronze Medalist Molly Seidel!
By Jeff Benjamin
It seems like one generation always passes the baton of inspiration onto another!
In 1984, Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s inaugural Women’s Marathon victory inspired a generation of women.
Deena Kastor was one of those who benefitted and she made it pay off!
One of America’s Legends, Kastor has held American records in every distance from the 5K to the marathon and is still the current record-holder (2:19:36). Kastor, who has represented the USA on 19 national teams, also earned two silver medals in the World Cross Country Championships and has 24 national titles to her name. As a master runner (over 40 years old) she has broken 5 world records and 7 American Records including the marathon.
However, it’s Kastor’s 2004 Olympic Marathon performance that cemented her legacy, as she executed a planned race in 95-degree heat (sound familiar?) to net the Bronze Medal behind Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi (2:26:20) and Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba (2:26:32), clocking a time of 2:27:20.
Kastor’s bronze medal was the first U.S. medal in the Olympic Marathon since Joan Benoit’s 1984 gold medal victory at the inaugural women’s Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles and the first Olympic distance medal for the U.S. since Lynn Jennings’ 1992 bronze medal in the 10,000 meters in Barcelona.
Her inspiring run no doubt was passed onto Molly Seidel!
When asked if there were any recollections from 2004 while watching Seidel, Kastor said, “The only recalls were the importance of pacing, fluids, and shade when running in hot conditions.”
“I was watching as a super-fan of the Sport and TEAM USA!”
Here are some more of Kastor’s thoughts –
“Molly’s race was brilliant from start to finish. She ran as if she’d had years of experience at the marathon distance, and I guess she has years of racing experience, and that was on full display.
I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t have any USA athletes on my podium picks despite Alphine showing time and time again how tough she is (and that she has great “Mom” role models in her NAZ Elite teammates), nor Sally who is an Olympic medalist already, nor Molly who I thought needed more marathon experience. TEAM USA was chasing a deep field of World record-holders, World Champions, and National record holders. I guess that is what makes Molly’s performance so incredible.
She wasn’t fazed by the status of those around her, she wasn’t crippled by the grandness of the Olympic stage she was performing on, nor did she seem to succumb to the brutal conditions in which her competitors did. Molly surprised us all by making the US Olympic team in her first-ever marathon, so why not surprise us on the Olympic stage as well?
It was a good day for Molly, but a brighter day, thanks to her, for US distance runners. She has inspired many generations of Olympic medalists to follow.”
Once again, a female American Marathoner is passing the baton down to the future!